CWU Japan Training Camp Tour Journal 2008

Editor’s note: Chukyo Women’s University was renamed Shigakkan in 2010.

USOEC athlete Alyssa Lampe performing a “double piggy-back” up a sloped hill at CWU, Japan 2008

Chukyo Women’s University Nagoya, Japan March 2008 USA Wrestling women’s freestyle resident athlete program at the U.S. Olympic Education on the campus of Northern Michigan University (NMU) traveled to Japan during the NMU spring break to learn from the best women wrestlers in the world at Chukyo Women’s University (CWU) lead by Sensei Sakae.

CWU is the training ground and home for Olympic Champions Saori Yoshida and Kaori Icho and also Kaori’s elder sister a reigning 3 x World Champion and Olympic Silver medalist Chiharu Icho.

There are 20 other world championship titles to learn from at CWU and below is a training journal and pictorial essay that discovers the secrets to success.

Chukyo Women’s University Training Camp Tour 2008 Day 1
The USOEC contingent of eleven athletes and two coaches arrive at Nagoya, Japan Airport and are greeted by Coach Sakae, Olympic Champion Saori Yoshida, Rena (2 x World Silver medalist), World Cup Champion Yuri, Mami (World University Silver medalist), his assistant coach, and CWU athletes. This day or days was filled with flying, reading, and taking pictures from Detroit, MI, USA to the final destination of Japan or the team House where our first meal was served.

Interesting notes
We actually left the States on leap day Friday February 29, 2008 and entered Japan Saturday March 1, 2008. Japan is 14 hours difference and the flight took approximately 14 hours from Detroit, MI, USA to Tokyo, Japan to Nagoya Japan. (We actually traveled via 4 airports starting in Green Bay, WI.)

Chukyo Womens University wrestling team has 2 team houses. The team house the USOEC team ate and eats at nightly is comprised of mainly high school students and underclasswomen at CWU.

Chukyo Women’s University Training Camp Tour 2008 Day 2
Sunday March 2, 2008 is the first workout and this training session is mainly gymnastics, body weight, and sport specific strength exercises organized by the team captain. This practice takes about 1 hour or so.

The second practice is filled with a warm up of roughly 40 minutes or so followed by 2-5 live matches depending on how many people each wrestler asked.

Interesting notes
Each practice is started by Coach Sakae giving instructions or words from his mind. CWU lines up by rank in order of age and grade in school or college. The Olympians and World Champions form a separate and distinct group on the side. The team then prays then claps 3 times and begins to practice lead by the team captain.

Coach Sakae rarely speaks during practice except to correct mistakes and generally the athletes organize and run the entire practice.

Athletes ages range from 13-26 and all athletes are competitive. Saori Yoshida’s dad coaches at CWU on the weekends and brings along several younger athletes from his club including a very young boy who appeared to be 12 or so.

Chukyo Women’s University Training Camp Tour 2008 Day 3
Monday March 3, 2008 starts with Coach Sakae taking USOEC coaches to the vending machine while the team captain warms the wrestlers on the track.

This workout last about 2 hours and consists of short sprints up a 30-40 yard slope or paved road. After sprints, the athletes engage in several different types of body lifts that include: piggy back carry, double piggy back carry (2 people on your back), firemans carry, wheel barrel, double leg carry, and many other partner exercises that have no name at this point.

Wrestling was the theme for the second workout and most grapplers attained 4  matches.  The warm up was halted as TV cameras were present and Coach Sakae was dressed in a coat and tie. He briefly described why the cameras and reporters were there and the practice started again.

After the matches concluded, the plate workouts started and more body weight exercises were done. This workout took about 2.5 hours.

The Japanese spa was the place to be after practice and Coach Sakae via an interpreter invited the USOEC team along with Mio, Lena, and Mida to attend this hot springs, sauna, and cold plunge Japanese spa.

Interesting notes
Wrestling practices last anywhere from 2-3 hours and a lot of conditioning work is down with weights after most practices. (USOEC athletes are on the mats twice per day, generally, for 1.5 hours each back in Marquette, MI, USA.)

Younger athletes have no fear in this room and can score points too. USOEC athletes are scoring points on Olympians and gaining confidence each practice due to being able to complete each practice and the ability to score points on the best in the world.

The spa trip also included a trip to the Japanese version of the dollar store and the local super market. There were items that are sold in the states like just about all candy bars, sport drinks, coffee sold in the super market and similar items in the dollar store.

CWU Training Camp Tour journal part 2

Chukyo Women’s University Nagoya, Japan March 2008—The second part of the camp at CWU in Japan was sandwiched by a ’holiday’ as Coach Sakae called it. This holiday was a rest and much needed recovery day for the USOEC athletes to re-gain their mental strength, shop, and prepare for the last part of the camp.

Below is a description of the goings on of the U.S. Olympic Education Center freestyle resident athlete program during part 2 of the training camp minus pictures.

Pictures will become available upon return to the USA. The magic of technology is in control of the uploading and downloading of everything on computers at CWU and especially jpegs or photos or images.

Chukyo Women’s University Training Camp Tour 2008 Day 4
Tuesday March 4, 2008 picked up where Monday left off.

The morning started with warm up laps around the track and the workout lasted about 60 minutes from start to finish.

Five lap interval line sprint runs were used twice to begin the practice. These sprint/runs were followed up by direction changing sprints. These sprints pitted 4 athletes against each other till a clap was heard (or words) from the leader of the drill…then the sprint changed directions until another clap or voice was heard and another direction change.

After the sprint work was done on the track, pull up circuits were used to give the upper body something to brag about. These intense workouts were done in 5 sets of 10 or 50 total repetitions. The pull up circuit was finished with individual work on muscles or areas that need to be strengthened.

The second practice consisted of 4-5 matches and started with the typical stretch, gymnastics, body weight exercises, and drill scenario lead by the team captain.

Coach Sakae traveled to Tokyo to give an interview today and the instructions for practice were left earlier.

Interesting notes
Each day the CWU wrestlers amaze me with several drills, skills, exercises I have never seen before. Most of the ideas are logical and derivatives of other types of movement patterns and the way they are used is simple and amazing.

To be certain, most drills mimic the time of a period of wrestling or a flurry of movements to execute a skill. Also, most movements entail direction changes and explosive actions.

Chukyo Women’s University Training Camp Tour 2008 Day 5
Wednesday March 5, 2008 the USOEC team was granted a holiday by Coach Sakae.

This recovery day or regeneration day allowed a morning sleep in, shopping in Nagoya, and eating at a sushi bar. We took several trains to shop till we dropped and it reminded me of traveling in New York or Chicago due to the subway and elevated trains.

Luckily, our tour guides CWU wrestling’s finest and Mio were well planned and happy to take us to what appeared to be an outdoor type of market and then a 24 floor mall. Needless to say, the USOEC team got what they needed and this recovery day took 8 hours from start till finish.

The sushi bar had a conveyor belt of food traveling by seemingly every second and the food was good. Green tea was served at our leisure and a faucet or spigot filled with hot water was ready to serve whoever wanted tea.

Interesting notes
Much like Beijing, China; Nagoya, Japan has hundreds and thousands of people daily riding bikes or scooters to travel around. Our tour guides swiftly got on their bikes and scooter as they traveled home after shopping with us. The train station was filled with several thousand bikes in a moped, scooter, and bike parking lot.

During the recovery/shopping day, I saw many high school students shopping who were still wearing their uniforms and apparently most of the high school students attend schools were a uniform is required. All of the girls wore skirts with blouses and all the boys wore jackets with oxfords and ties.

Chukyo Women’s University Training Camp Tour 2008 Day 6
Thursday March 6, 2008 started with Coach Sakae addressing the team in the weight room followed by stretches then a track, cross training workout.

The track work out was a relay with three teams racing around a 400 meter track twice per group of 3 or 4 with substitutes after every 2 laps.

Part of the cross training workout out consisted of a stair workout up 3 flights with partner assisted and directed exercises. The other part of the cross training workout was a sit up circuit 3 times each per partner followed up by individual and partner work on specific muscle area needs.

The mat workouts consisted of a 30 minute warm up that included tumbling, jogging, drilling and this lead into drill matches 2 minutes long and eventually live wrestling.

Four or 3 matches were wrestled in the live portion preceded by group par terre goes where 2 groups essentially wrestled back and forth via a queen of the mat format. In other words, if no one can turn you, you are the queen of the mat and continue till some one turns you or stay there indefinitely.

Conditioning finished the practice with push up type exercises in sets of 5 (repetitions of 10) followed by a game of soccer with 3 little balls being kicked every which way.

Interesting notes
Coach Sakae says 2 words and the entire team falls in line at the beginning and end of each practice. The captain of the team addresses Coach Sakae during the start and finish of each practice and generally, the captain speaks through Sensei Sakae.

Many of CWU wrestling team wears USA Wrestling gear to each practice. The USOEC team and coaches traded or gifted much of the USAW gear being worn daily at practices during the inaugural 2007 CWU/USOEC training camp tour.

There are 7 high school wrestlers on the 2007-2008 CWU wrestling team.

CWU Training Camp Tour journal part 3

Chukyo Women’s University Nagoya, Japan March 2008—Part 3 of the Chukyo Women’s University Training Camp Tour covers the last three training days for the U.S. Olympic Education Center freestyle resident athlete.

The last 3 training days at CWU encompassed 6 workouts composed of 3 cross training workouts and 3 wrestling mat workouts.

Below is a day by day synopsis of things that happened in Nagoya, Japan during the training camp at CWU.

Chukyo Women’s University Training Camp Tour 2008 Day 7

Friday March 7, 2008 began with games of floor hockey (the teams actually met in the weight room first and Coach Sakae spoke, then…) followed up by a 26 station circuit in the weight room directed by Coach Sakae.

Due to the large size of the team(s), each circuit lasted for 10-12 stations then a rest period, then another circuit. This circuit was completed 3 times. Coach Sakae directed the team(s) to work on individual needs in the weight room at the conclusion of the last circuit.

The second workout on Friday began with sprint line drills combined with tumbling exercises that lasted for about 20 minutes then two minute drilling with change of partners lasted for 3 partners or six minutes total.

Speed drilling was next and included several varieties of speed drills with 20 seconds on — 5 seconds off. In the versions executed today, one partner hits as many skills as possible in 20 seconds. Twenty second speed drilling was followed by 15 second speed drills with the same format. Both speeds drills were executed 4 times each partner.

Live wrestling was next and again wrestlers could get up to 4 matches if they asked.

The conditioning lasted for 40 minutes on Friday and incorporated more skills that I have seen but executed in a different way. An example is team squats with everyone holding hands counting up to 11 then down from 11 which equals close to 132 squats.

This was another grueling day and Coach Sakae invited the USOEC team to the spa again and the USOEC freestyle athletes were happy to treat their muscles and minds to rest, recovery, and relaxation.

Interesting notes
Several times this week (3), Coach Sakae has taken the USOEC coaches to breakfast and today, Olympic Champion Saori, Malika (15 years old & second year athlete), and Malika’s mom joined us for coffee, eggs, and bread at a restaurant named Komeda’s.

The night before or day 6, the USOEC coaches were treated to sushi with Coach Sakae, Saori, Rena (2 x World Silver medalist), and Yuri (World Cup Champion and CWU graduate). Ayako also joined us that night and interpreted back and forth with the Japanese and American speakers.

Coach Sakae explained Japan’s women dominate wrestling due to Japan planning for the first Olympics women wrestlers would participate in over 20 years ago.

Saori explained she started wrestling at age 3 and she is 25 now. She also joined CWU when she was 18 and was coached by her father till CWU. Other great info from Saori: Olympic Champion Kaori Icho joined CWU at 15 and Saori and Kaori wrestled 3 times… Saori is 3-0 versus Kaori.

Saori explained Olympic Silver medalist Chiharu Icho (also a 3 x World Champion & Kaori’s elder sister) joined CWU at age 18. Chiharu is now 26 and Saori has not competed against her. Sisters Icho got involved with wrestling through their brother.

Chukyo Women’s University Training Camp Tour 2008 Day 8
Saturday March 8, 2008 began with the first workout on the track and ended with wrestlers trading clothes and other things.

The track workout started with groups of 3 people tossing a medicine ball, running, and interweaving between each other as they traveled around the oval 5 times. After that warm up, the wrestlers sprinted laps with the same format running 1 lap under 65 seconds. If your group time was over 65 seconds, your group ran again.

Ten minutes of working on individual muscles that need work concluded the morning workout in the weight room.

Team USA or the USOEC freestyle resident athletes ran the last wrestling practice and it seemed as if we were at home at Northern Michigan University in the Superior Dome wrestling room.

Much of the format was a mixture of all the ideas that the USOEC freestyle coaches and athletes employ daily in Marquette, MI, USA. For these secrets, join our team!

Interesting notes
Coach Sakae travels to Tokyo for the second and third times during this camp to have planning meetings and interviews. Coach Sakae was Japan’s first Olympic Coach for women at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and will be the women’s coach for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

On the last session of camp, singlets, shoes, shirts, bracelets, hair things, and many other items were shared, traded, and gifted to each other. Several team pictures were taken and there were a lot of smiles going around as seemingly everyone wanted a photo with everyone who trained at the second annual Chukyo Women’s University Training Camp Tour 2008 version.

CWU training tour movies

In addition to the above edited-videos-drills-only clips, the below longer version movies show the CWU & USOEC teams sightseeing, shopping, & touring the streets of Japan:

 Copyright © by Coach Shannyn, All rights reserved


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